Alert the media: Teachers and unions want teacher evaluations

From all the Fox News and Rush Limbaugh propaganda you would think that teachers and their unions love terrible teachers. In fact, you would think that most teachers and their unions hate students more than the plague. Even public education's staunchest allies now think teachers are horrendous monsters. If you are a teacher, you are probably terrible, and even if you are not terrible, you are protecting someone who is. Maybe that is why teacher morale has dropped 15% and is at a decades low level.

The truth, of course, is much different. The biggest threat to our underprivileged students is not the few bad teachers. Those teachers can, are, and will be fired if they have good administrators. Teachers want evaluations. My principal is in my room all the time. He was in my room observing the first week of school. It is always a surprise visit. All of our teachers are blessed with this constant evaluation. No one is trying to protect bad teachers, but retaining good teachers is a much bigger problem. Teacher turnover is much, much more traumatic to student learning. 

What we do not want, is corporate sponsored evaluation schemes meant to dehumanize teachers and privatize education. Maine was the last state that Students First took on. In that state, Students First literally cut and pasted A.L.E.C. legislation to lobby for. Do we really think the A.L.E.C. agenda is right for Minnesota and our kids? If you want the best in depth look at what A.L.E.C. and Students First are trying to do to public education, visit the Parents United site. These are real reformers who truly care about kids.

You can read here about New York City's worst teacher. Go ahead. She is so labeled in the opening paragraph. They did a great job hounding her about why she cared so little. Why she was so terrible. They even asked her dad why his daughter was such a horrible, horrible person. She was able to be labeled the "worst teacher in New York City" exactly by the same legislation that Students First wants in Minnesota.

The funny thing is, she is a fabulous teacher. She works in an A rated school with a top rated principal. That principal is confident enough that she would enroll her own kids with this teacher, and has publicly stood up for her. The margins of error on these Students First type evaluations are +/-30% for math and +/- 50% in English. For this, a top teacher at an A rated school is labeled the worst in the city of millions. This is the bill Students First is lobbying for.

Following is the obvious result of market based competition:

In the District of Columbia, contrary to expectations, reading scores on national tests dropped and achievement gaps grew after a new test-based teacher-evaluation system was installed. In Portugal, a study of test-based merit pay attributed score declines to the negative effects of teacher competition, leading to less collaboration and sharing of knowledge.

Indeed, reviews by the National Research Council, the RAND Corp., and the Educational Testing Service have all concluded that value-added estimates of teacher effectiveness should not be used to make high-stakes decisions about teachers.

--Teachers who perform poorly are more likely to perform above average in different periods. It is very dependent on the class make up

--Teachers who score well on bubble filling tests often do much worse on more cognitive and challenging tasks, and vice versa (they just teach to the Students First test)

Please read the article on the horrific things these testing criteria do to good teachers. Please read why most outstanding countries reject this idea on its face.

Oh, and the head honcho of Students First? She is under federal investigation. So, side with A.L.E.C. and known privatizers, or side with public education, students, parents, communities and teachers. You make the call.

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Alec Timmerman's picture
Alec Timmerman

Comments

Teacher morale

Alec,

Outstanding article, brother. The links to your sources are invaluable. Arlington High School will never die!

Rick